Crittenton Wraparound Services: Foster Mom is Shining Example of Exceptional Parenting for LA County Foster Youth
Earcylene Beavers is no ordinary Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) advocate. She like so many of our supporters wears a number of hats that we respect and appreciate.
To clarify, she is not a direct Crittenton client, nor is she a Crittenton foster parent. Who is she you ask? Well, she just happens to be the foster mom to current and former clients in need of tailored mental health services via our Wraparound Services Program. This immediate and around-the-clock support service is being delivered directly at Mrs. Beavers’ home through a team of dedicated Wraparound Services Program staff from our Los Angeles county office. The goal of the Crittenton team is to make sure that Mrs. Beavers and the young foster children she is looking out for get the very best support and help needed when “emotional crisis” arise.
“Over the years we [Crittenton] have worked with many LA County foster parents, some good, some okay, some great; she, however, is exceptional! She works well with the Crittenton team, she is focused in meetings, is supportive of those children she cares for, applies the techniques and coping skills developed through her training received by the Crittenton mental health team, and assures that all children in her care get a much needed stable home environment,” said Kendra Tankersley-Davis, Crittenton Wraparound Services Program Facilitator.
The Crittenton team who has routinely helped Mrs. Beavers in modifying any negative or inappropriate behavior the children in her care may exhibit include: Kendra Tankersley-Davis, Ivan Martinez, LaNette Pierce and therapists Dawn Ledesma and Norman Salguerdo. In total, Crittenton has worked with Mrs. Beavers for about three to four years now. She considers us a part of her go-to advocacy team and has a mutual respect for Crittenton in terms of our mission of helping children in crisis and in terms of our quality of service. We are currently working with Mrs. Beavers to assist our fifth child client.
Most recently, Mrs. Beavers wanted to make sure that one of her foster children and former Crittenton client, whom she has now taken legal guardianship of, had a birthday party. Our former client had mentioned that this was the first birthday party they had ever had. Mrs. Beavers made sure that the child had the works: a piñata, music, cake and most importantly made sure that the child’s biological family members were invited. Needless to say, our former client describes the party as the “best birthday party ever” and was overjoyed with the experience.
“Foster parenting is a ministry to me. I enjoy what I’m doing and I put my whole heart into what I do. This is my life, I actually retired from LA County’s purchasing department [a number of years ago] to be with my kids full-time [foster kids],” said Beavers.
Mrs. Beavers mentions that if the LA County Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS) authorizes family support services for the county’s foster youth placed in her care she will immediately request Crittenton as her social services and child welfare agency of preference.
“I mean every one on my team [Crittenton Wraparound staff] is wonderful. We get along and I feel like I can talk about anything with them. And I speak highly of you [Crittenton] to my social worker [LA County Social Worker]. I tell the social worker that you are doing your job,” said Beavers and added, ”They [Crittenton team] are family to me. This is a family that makes sure that my kids and I get what is needed. It is the best way I can describe it [relationship] and they [Crittenton team] go above and beyond. They have truly wrapped around my entire family, they cater to our needs, and they mean it when they say call me Mrs. Beavers if you need support and we will be there. Not every one I deal with is like that. But with this team I know everyone’s number and if I can’t reach one I can easily reach another for help. We work together.”
The more we have gotten to know Mrs. Beavers over the years the more we are in awe of her dedication and the advocacy she has for children in need. She has been a Los Angeles County foster parent for more than 20 years, and has dedicated her life in service to LA County’s foster children that need her help and a home.
She is no ordinary foster parent though. She is also designated as an emergency foster care parent for infant and toddlers, where she is committed in receiving these children into her home on a 24 hours a day basis. This is a designation that Los Angeles County carefully bestows for only those foster parents that have the most experience and have proven that they can take care of the most vulnerable children in Los Angeles County. Mrs. Beavers has taken up towards four infants or toddlers, within a month’s span, that will typically stay for a 14 day stretch in her home should LA County DCFS choose to go with Mrs. Beavers as an emergency foster care placement option.
In fact, as Crittenton visits her home to provide one-on-one help it is pretty typical to see very young children attached to Mrs. Beavers at all times, and to hear the phone ringing multiple times throughout the day from LA County DCFS requesting help on an emergency foster care placement.
There is never a time that Mrs. Beavers’ house is not joyfully filled with children, and she has adopted three of her foster children over the years. It is her dedication to children in the Los Angeles foster care system that made it possible for her adoptive children to have a much more stable and healthy life. In fact, her adopted daughter, the first adoption for Mrs. Beavers through Los Angeles County, has just completed her freshman year at California State University, Northridge. While at the same time holding down a part-time campus job, making the Dean’s List, and thinking of studying abroad.
Both Mrs. Beavers and Crittenton have worked together to provide quality care to very challenging foster care children with severe behavioral issues leading to multiple short-term psychiatric hospitalizations. Not easy decisions and action plans to implement, but necessary in order to stabilize children that were in need of a heightened form of care.
In addition, to emergency infant and toddler foster care placement she is what LA County terms a D-Rate provider. Mrs. Beavers has let LA County DCFS know that she is able and more than willing to care for challenging foster care placements. Meaning that she is okay with looking out for children that may have been diagnosed with multiple mental health concerns, or have experienced repetitive complex trauma.
Where most foster parents typically shy away from these kind of foster care placements Mrs. Beavers, on the other hand, is the first to open her home to children that she says, through no fault of their own, have experienced a level of toxic stress, neglect or abuse that no child should ever have to go through.
It is one of the main reasons why she consistently requests Crittenton support. Mrs. Beavers knows that Crittenton has nearly 50 years of experience providing trauma-informed care with a specialization in children’s and adolescent mental health. And it is to no surprise that she regularly steps up to provide a loving, structured and supportive home for children that not too many could manage.
She is very active in her church and within the community and has been recognized and honored by multiple organizations, city governments, Los Angeles County and elected officials such U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass.
“She is not a foster mom who wants things to be convenient for her, she is a foster mom that wants what is best for the child in her care. She provides the children in her care with as normal a life as possible; she buys their favorite snacks; allows their friends from school to come over; assures they participate in family events; including vacations, and takes the children to church and makes them a apart of her church family,” said Tankersley-Davis, “Mrs. Beavers also lets the staff at the schools the children in her care attend know her and understand that she is interested in their academic performance. Not only does she support the children, she supports their biological family if reunification is a possibility. Truly exceptional parenting and a true pleasure to work with her, and to be a part of her family’s advocacy team.”
To be able to help the youngest of children in Los Angeles County’s foster care system receive quality care that treats the “whole child” recover from adverse childhood trauma is something we are proud to say we are qualified to do as part of Crittenton’s Wraparound Services Program. And we hope that we can continue to provide our expertise for the next 50 years to families experiencing crisis; to be able to help parents in need of emotional support; and provide youth a platform to thrive despite the external or internal obstacles they may face.
We are inspired by Mrs. Beavers and happy to help a parent, including foster parents, with the challenges of navigating mental health treatment options for children that may need it, or simply provide emotional support services for caregivers in need.
If Mrs. Beavers’ story has also inspired you to advocate for foster children, and possibly help give a foster child a stable home and loving family life we encourage you to consider the Crittenton Foster Care Program in your foster care agency search. We are always looking for good people willing to help us take care of our youth. Our foster care team is happy to explain any questions you may have on what it takes to become a foster parent.
Thank you for the consideration and a thank you to all foster parents who are willing to give children in need of a family get a chance to live a happy life.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.
Visit www.crittentonsocal.org to learn more about our programs and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr.